Making a difference
As part of the Mid-term Review of Mistra Urban Futures in 2015, independent outcome studies have been carried out at all four Platforms.
The Local Interaction Platforms (LIPs) in Cape Town, Kisumu, Manchester and Gothenburg, have gathered people and organisations in a way that in many places has not been done before. This is more part of a process, reflecting the ethos of Mistra Urban Futures, than attributed to specific projects. However, the projects are normally the bases on which these new collaborations are formed, with partner organisations as well as other external actors.
The opportunity to get a different approach and a different perspective than the usual is highly valued among partner organisations. The collaborative approach to knowledge production also raises the question of whose responsibility it is to act on the findings and results, more than in normal university research projects.
In Kisumu, the Local Interaction Platform (KLIP) is seen as an agent of intervention for mobilisation of resources. One example of these policy influencing activities of the KLIP has facilitated the accessibility to the Dunga site by promoting and pointing at the importance of improving the roads. At the same time, the local collaboration within the KLIP has contributed to the capacity building for restructuring the local economies, leading to an increased trade sector in Kisumu.
The Cape Town Local Interaction Platform has carried out the most extensive project for collaboration by actually “embedding” researchers in the city administration. This has been a valued contribution, as the researchers were able to add a “quality” and a “presence” that were not expected. The researchers work was particularly welcome as “stimulating” and “particular angles”.
In a similar way, partners in the Greater Manchester LIP express the sense of freedom to think “without the walls” that characterises the Mistra Urban Futures projects.
Furthermore, interviewees also point at the momentum created among participating organisations, and see that as a key to bring about change.
Some interviews were made for a specific outcomes report, called “The Academic Footprint”. The impact on research is primarily connected to the relevance of the projects in the academic context. To develop this further, some interviewees stated, a challenge for Mistra Urban Futures is to make the processes, benefits and objectives of co-produced knowledge even clearer.